How to Wash Dog Toys

Updated: January 02, 2024

Dogs love toys! They are everywhere—from inside your house, to your backyard, even in your car! Although they are a fun way to play, dog toys can be covered in slobber and dirt. This means your dog may be chewing, or snuggling, toys contaminated with mildew, bacteria, even viruses.

Dirty dog toys can put your furbaby at risk. This article is a comprehensive guide on how to wash dog toys. Whether your furbabies have plushies, chew toys, interactive toys, or rubber toys, we got you!

How Often You Should Clean Your Dog's Toys

Before delving into the nitty gritty of how to wash dog toys, pet parents need to know how often should dog toys be cleaned.

Photographer: David Baileys | Copyright: David Baileys

"Dog toys are one of the top ten dirtiest items found at home."

A study from NSF International stated that dog toys are one of the top ten dirtiest items found at home. While it is generally advised to give dog toys a good cleaning at least once a month. However, weekly cleaning is highly recommended for toys brought outdoors - especially when brought beyond your own property.

How to Wash Dog Toys

There is no set of specific rules when it comes to cleaning dog toys, as there are many different kinds of dog toys made from many different materials.

Plush Toys and Rope Toys

Plush dog toys are commonly produced with soft fabrics like fleece, plush, or microfiber. Some have stuffing inside to give furbabies a snuggly feel. While many dog rope toys are made from hemp or cotton. Inspecting each toy carefully is necessary for cleaning these kinds of toys. Look for any loose attachments or areas that may come off during the washing. If there are any damaged parts, remove them first. Discard them if it is beyond repair.

To start the washing process, fill a basin with warm water and soak the plush toys. Then, add in dog safe laundry detergent.

Avoid using human detergents or any kind of detergents or cleaners that contain the following:

  • Bleach
  • Chlorine
  • Artificial Dyes
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)

When washing dog toys, use only PetTergent®. PetTergent® dog detergent is a specially formulated enzymatic dog detergent. It is the first, and only, laundry detergent for pets. This dog-safe laundry detergent is safe for furbabies, as it does not contain harsh chemicals, scents or dyes. PetTergent® dog-safe laundry detergent is best for plush toys and rope toys as it can deodorize all laundry soiled by pet messes. Only 1-2oz of PetTergent® is needed, depending on the size and dirtiness of the load, and will last for up to 32 loads. Add this to the warm water and mix.

Soaking the toys in warm water and PetTergent® will help loosen up grime, mold and dirt, and will make washing dog toys faster and more effective. Make sure the toys are fully submerged in water and let them soak for at least 15 minutes (or up to an hour) depending on how dirty they are. Once the soaking period is over, begin gently scrubbing the toys and rinse with running water when it is completely clean.

If you decide to wash dog toys in the washing machine rather than scrubbing, add FurBall® to your washing machine. FurBall® is a pet hair remover for the laundry, and can be used in both the washing machine and the dryer. In the washing machine, FurBall® acts as an agitator, scrubbing hair, lint and debris from laundry.

Keep in mind the dog toys may take longer to dry. RSPCA states that to avoid growths of mold, make sure the toys are thoroughly dry before giving them back to your furbaby or before storing them away.

Plush toys are best air-dried. Rope toys can be dried in the dryer as they are generally pretty durable. Plush toys are best air-dried, however, if you decide to throw them in the dryer, do not use dryer sheets. Dryer sheets pose many risks to your furbaby. Dryer sheets are toxic, depending on how much is ingested. They also risk getting stuck in the digestive tract, aid in developing kidney failure in dogs, and may cause skin irritations.

Chew Toys

When cleaning chew toys, inspect thoroughly and look for any holes that may cause the water to get inside. Check if the chew toy is overly worn, or dangerous, for your furbaby to chew on. If you notice is may pose any risks, get rid of it.

Begin cleaning chew toys by soaking in lukewarm water, just like the plush toys! Add PetTergent® pet laundry detergent formulation and leave to soak for a few minutes.

Pet Pee Pads

"Soaking dog toys in warm water and PetTergent® will help loosen grime, mold and dirt, and will make washing dog toys faster and more effective. "

After soaking, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the toys. This allows you to thoroughly clean hard-to-reach areas of the chew toys that may contain trapped dirt or debris. Rinse with running water and air dry any fabric toys. Tap dry any hard material toys to ensure any hidden water is removed.

You may always opt to provide Gnawtlers® for your furbaby. These chews not only allow you to skip the cleaning, but they provide your dog with essential nutrients! These premium elk and deer antler chews are packed with calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc. Your furbaby will gain nutrients just from chewing!

Plastic, Nylon, and Rubber Toys

If your furbaby has toys made out of plastic, rubber, or nylon, some precautions must be taken when cleaning them.

Unlike toys made from fiber, cotton, or hemp, these toys cannot be soaked in lukewarm water as any heat may cause these toys to warp, melt, break, or release harmful chemicals.

To clean, soak these toys in room-temperature water with PetTergent®. Let toys soak for a few minutes before scrub thoroughly. Disassemble any removable parts, and clean well to ensure no dirt or debris is trapped anywhere. Rinse with running water.

As a pet parent, you should never neglect your furbaby’s toys. Make it a part of your schedule to inspect any wear and tear, and toss away any broken toys.

Make sure to wash dog toys as needed. By cleaning your dog’s toys, you are not only protecting their health and safety, you also help their favorite toys last longer!